Bruges - city walk off the beaten track

Bruges - city walk off the beaten track


In 2018, Bruges' tourist board counted around 8,3 million visitors to the most beautiful city in Flanders. Bruges' old town has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000. We are among the lucky ones who have been able to explore the capital of West Flanders several times, mostly on cruise ships. The last two visits date from the current year. We experience Bruges by visiting the brand new AIDAcosma and the WORLD VOYAGER from nicko cruises in Zeebrugge.

Zeebrugge - terminal building with lightship

Zeebrugge - terminal building with lightship


Zeebrugge - Marina

Zeebrugge - Marina 


Under Bruges - Sights we present the main attractions of Bruges in detail. Under A day in Bruges we describe our impressions of a tour on our own through the old town center of the 121.000 (as of January 2021) city. This time we are interested in the parts of Bruges that are less affected by the flow of tourists. Our walking tour takes in two historic city gates, Bruges' windmills, hidden squares and quiet streets. We start our tour at the Ezelpoort and end it at the Concertgebouw.

Ezelport

Ezelport


Bruges Concertgebouw

Bruges Concertgebouw 


Trams and buses take us to Bruges

As with the previous calls, our cruise ship is docked in the port of Zeebrugge. We leave the port area and walk 400-500 meters to the nearest stop of the Kusttram tram line. We buy the required day ticket from "SPAR", opposite the bus stop. At the Blankenberge stop we change to the bus to Bruges. The buses run every hour during the day; the cycle time is increased early in the morning and in the evening.

Coastal tram

Coastal tram


Ezelpoort and Ezelstraat

We leave the bus at the Ezelpoort, one of the four existing city gates of Bruges. The city gate dates back to 1297. It was part of the city wall. Over the next seven centuries, the gate was redesigned a number of times. It is located in the middle of the water-flowing park 't Stil Ende.

Ezelport

Ezelport


Park 't style end

Park 't style end 


The city gate opens onto the Ezelstraat. Two beautiful secular buildings flank access to the street on both sides. The Ezelstraat serves as a residential and commercial area. There are many representative buildings on both sides. We follow the Ezelstraat until we reach the Achiel van Ackerplein. There is the Ryelandtzaal. The former monastery and parish church on the Ackerplein was transformed into a concert hall in 1985. Because of its equipment, the Ryelandtzaal is particularly suitable for organ concerts.

Bruges - Corner of Koningin Elisabethlaan and Ezelstraat
Ryelandtzaal
Ryelandtzaal - facade detail
Buildings in the Ezelstraat

Pottenmakersstraat, Genthof and Spiegelrei

After a few hundred meters of walking, we turn left into Pottenmakersstraat and follow it to Augustijnenrei. The Torenbrug and the three-nave Sint-Gilliskerk come into view. It is the only church in the city center that has a tower clock. Built in the 13th century and renovated in the 15th century, the church has served as the burial church for many Flemish artists over the centuries.

Pottenmakersstraat
Augustijnerrei
Sint Gilliskerk
fried


We take a break in the “Terrastje” at the Genthof, a hearty pub. We eat - Flemish tapas - cheese and sausage bites, drink coffee and beer, and enjoy the silence of the surroundings.

't Terrastje't Terrastje


Our next stop is the Spiegelrei. It grants wide views of Bruges' canals and many historical buildings. – While in the center visitors step on each other's toes on the Grote Markt and Burgplatz, we are almost left to our own devices away from the two central squares. We meet few people, and every now and then we are forced to give way to a car in the quiet streets.

Spiegelrei and Spinolarei

Spiegelrei and Spinolarei


The Carmersstraat and the windmills

The next destination is the Carmersstraat. After a few steps, she welcomes us with an attractive mural. On our way are the Engels Klooster and the Koninklijke Hoofdgilde Sint Sebastiaan. The guild represents the city's oldest archery association, continuously active since the Middle Ages.

Mural painting on the Carmersstraat
Carmersstraat
Engels Klooster on Carmersstraat
Long street


We visit the Kruisvest, the spacious green area on the outer city wall, not because of the conspicuous guild hall, but because of its windmills. A total of four mills are still standing on the ramparts. We pass two of the mills in the following minutes. Grain is still ground in the Sint-Janshuismühle (anno 1770). We particularly like the second mill, the Bonne Chièremolen.

Sint Janshuismolen

Sint Janshuismolen


Bonne Chièremolen

Bonne Chièremolen 


The city gate Kruispoort

From the mills we change to the Kruispoort, one of the four city gates of Bruges. The gate was built between 1297 and 1304. Since then it has been changed twice.

Kruispoort

Kruispoort


Guild House - Koninklijke Hoofdgilde Sint Sebastiaan

Guild House - Koninklijke Hoofdgilde Sint Sebastiaan 


The gate is on the Langestraat. Also in this street there are many representative houses with stepped gables. We enjoy a tranquil view of the canal, which is littered with canal boats, at the height of the Uilenspiegel brasserie.

Langestraat - Brasserie Uilenspiegel

Langestraat - Brasserie Uilenspiegel


Langestraat - view of canal boats

Langestraat - view of canal boats 


Back in Bruges historical center

The Langestraat becomes the Hoogstraat. Shortly afterwards we reach the Burgplatz. The Belfort, Bruges' belfry, looms in the background. At 83 meters high, it towers over the surrounding buildings. A representative building in the Hoogstraat is the Depot D'O. The five-storey building with the stepped gable is a jewel on the street.

Hoogstraat and Belfort

Hoogstraat and Belfort


Hoogstraat - Depot D'O

Hoogstraat - Depot D'O 


Burgplatz and Grote Markt

The street becomes busier: We come to the Burgplatz with its diverse sights. Almost 200 meters separate the Burgplatz from the Grote Markt. We describe the diverse sights of both places below Bruges - Sights.

Provostry
Buildings on Burgplatz
Grote Markt - Pieter de Coninck et Jan Breydel monument
Grote Markt

Steenstraat – Bruges' shopping paradise

At the Grote Markt we turn into the Steenstraat, which is lined with attractive shops. At least now the calm is over. We move among hundreds of tourists. After a short distance we pass the Simon Stevinplein, with the monument to the Flemish mathematician, and the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, familiar to us from previous visits.

Steenstraat

Steenstraat


Facades in the Steenstraat

Facades in the Steenstraat 


The Steenstraat becomes the Zuidzandstraat. This is followed by the square Het Zand, in front of the Bruges Concertgebouw. The buses that take us back to the Kusttram station in Blankenberge stop next to the concert hall. In the seaside resort of Blankenberge we change to the tram to Zeebrugge. An eventful day in Bruges is coming to an end.

May 2022